Every Friday, FashionUnited returns to a major event in fashion news. Opinions are mixed on Shein’s rise, which has been criticized but still praised by customers. If the majority of the public seems uncomfortable with the company’s practices regarding respect for the environment and employees’ working conditions, the company’s numbers continue to climb and its rise is undeniable, which may seem quite paradoxical. Building on its success, Shein is increasing the number of pop-up stores opened around the world. Despite some objections, this strategy has worked quite well so far. However, at the last opening in Lille, things did not go as planned.
Barely opened, already destroyed
While the pop-up store operation has gone relatively well so far, the October 20 opening in Lille was different. “Not everyone came to Grand’Place this Friday to do business. Designers and local textile business leaders expressed their opposition to this outsourced fashion. According to BFM TV, opponents said in the panels, “Doing nothing will cost much more” or “It would be smart.” buy, buy people. Someone, somewhere, is paying the price for this. He wrote slogans such as “#Stopshein”.
It must be said that the city of Lille and the entire region of Northern France has a long history in textiles, which makes this installation quite sensitive: “We are creating a pop-up installation for the sociologist of the Nordic environment, Madjouline Sbai. The store of the ultra-fast fashion giant is like a provocation.” It is full of meaning because we have a deep-rooted textile history in the region. In the 80s and 90s, we started selling process textile production in other countries, but still, this is very meaningful. It is economical in the fashion and dynamic clothing environment “And for a number of years there has been a real desire to reinvent this model, including from remanufacturers in the region. Finally, seeing new ultra-fast fashion companies develop raises questions.”
This time, it’s a protest that goes beyond simple words: “Throughout the night, Extinction Rebellion activists targeted the windows of the Shein temporary store with black paint. “We repainted it in its true colour: the color of pollution. “The environmental movement denounces the impact of the textile industry on the environment and the working conditions of workers,” explains La Voix du Nord.
All professionals in the industry agree that Shein’s economic model is completely at odds with their vision and the values they stand for. However, on the consumer side, the discourse is completely different.
Shein pop-up store is an undeniable success
Despite its many naysayers, Shein can continue its development with peace of mind, as the company has managed to gain public support. The temporary store in Lille opened its doors from 20 to 24 October in the former Marionnaud Grand-Place perfumery building from 10 in the morning until 19:30 in the evening. As at every opening, customers came in groups and the queue was never empty: “This Friday morning there were people in Lille for the opening of the Shein temporary store. At least 200 people lined up single file waiting for the doors to open at 10am,” reports La Voix du Nord.
Shein began its pop-up store operation in May 2023. Since then, the Chinese ultra-fast fashion company has visited Paris, Ibiza, Marseille and Lille. A petition launched last April to ban Shein from setting up pop-up stores in France has collected just over 262,000 signatures in seven months. The low support further confirms the paradox between the complaints of some and the reality of the market.